Freud first identified the phenomenon of infantile amnesia about 100 years ago, though today it still remains an unsolved puzzle. Almost no one can remember an event that occurred before the age of two and a half, and seldom can anyone remember anything prior to the age of four. Almost every scientist who researches how personality or psychopathology develops agrees that what individuals have forgotten about their infancy profoundly shapes their mental lives as adults.
The goal of many of our projects is to examine when young infants begin to remember events and for how long they can remember them. Much of the stress infants experience in their daily lives is social in nature, and finding out how a social event affects memory, behavior, and physiology over the first months life will fill an important gap in our understanding of how normal infants cope with and remember a stressful event.